Math and Me: A Love Story without the Love

When I was in 1st grade and saw a minus sign for the first time, I immediately changed it to a plus sign, because, REALLY, I already knew math.  Some kid in my class "told" on me, and I blushed so hard when I realized this was "new" (ie: other than addition) math, that the shameful feelings continued on through the rest of school. 

 My "It's time for math" face.

 Math and I were never close from that day forward.  I think maybe I blamed math on making me feel stupid... which it continued to do over the years simply because I could never see the point to it.

My father-in-law (math teacher) and husband (physics major) would say you learn it so you can do even MORE math.  Or Physics!  Whoopee!

Fast forward 20 years... I picked up an algebra book at our local library book sale.  Why?  I don't know, other than I was looking for a challenge, and dog-gone if I didn't work myself through the whole book.  I made sense now... maybe it needed 20 years to percolate, maybe the shame I had felt about it was gone, and being relaxed about it, and not being graded for it... maybe all those things led to the perfect storm for me.

Fast forward another 3 years, and I find myself teaching math to my children.  (And reading, but that's a different story.) For some reason, Perimeter and Area are the bane of my children's existence.  If someone can teach it to them in a way they can remember it for more than 3 seconds, I won't even be jealous.  Even Grandpa tried to teach them.  He walked away thinking he'd got it in their heads... not so, not so.  I've had them on their hands and knees measuring carpets, up on the table measuring the table top, and measuring the windows for curtains.  I've drawn examples on graph paper about 50,000,000 times. (See how comfortable I am with math now?)

The impetus for this post was the argument I had TWICE today with Habtamu about Area. I admit that I get hot under the collar when I am unable to explain something that is so clear to me to someone who SEEMS to be not understanding ON PURPOSE.  Yeah, I know it's not on purpose, but A=b x h is really about as straight forward as you can get.  A kinder, gentler math, if you will.  Habtamu's math teacher told me today that soon they will be dealing with 3 dimensions instead of 2. Oy.

All that is to say is that 'Ignorance IS Bliss' because if I were still ignorant of the ways of math, I could shrug and say "Huh.  I dunno.  Ask your father."   Just like I do with Science...


Katherine said...

you are MUCH better than ME at math! So glad you could come tonight! Thanks!

McEvilOne said...

OK, be honest...you made them measure the carpet, tabletop & curtains for the reason you want to remodel the room. ;)